Three lessons credit unions can take away from the final, disappointing season of Game of Thrones

It’s been a little under a month since the final Game of Thrones (GOT) episode aired, and while the ashes of King’s Landing’s final, fiery battle have well and truly settled, the lingering frustration of disappointed fans has not. The final season is considered the weakest of the entire groundbreaking series, with scores of fans still expressing their discontent – some even trying to get the final season re-produced!

And while competition in the credit union realm is not nearly as fierce or bloody as the fight for the Iron Throne, there is one similarity that can’t be denied. Like credit unions, GOT brought people together and united them in a shared belief. In essence, they created their own movement.

Thankfully, the credit union movement doesn’t have a finite timeframe like GOT’s eight season run, but that doesn’t mean the industry can’t learn from its deeply unsatisfying finish. Here, we unpack three of the show’s biggest missteps and what credit unions can do to avoid upsetting their own legion of loyal fans.

Don’t overpromise and underdeliver

For years GOT exceeded fans’ expectations. As the show progressed, it constantly outdid itself thanks to unexpected plot twists and incredible visual effects. Each season delivered more excitement than the last, so when it came to the final stretch, fans were expecting to be blown right out of the water. They weren’t.

This is the classic case of overpromising and underdelivering. Instead of continuing to go beyond expectation and wow fans, the show ended with a lackluster final season that didn’t meet the standards it had previously set.

For credit unions, the key to avoiding underdelivering is to look at your brand promise, then find the hard evidence that proves you are living up to it. Keep in mind that your brand promise is not your mission statement. Rather, it’s a statement that encapsulates what your members can expect from your organization and the relationship they have with it. We encourage all credit unions to have a defined brand promise, as it becomes the pillar of every organizational action as well as the key benchmark to determine if you are truly providing the value you aim to deliver.

Say, for example, your brand promise incorporates always offering incredible member service. To ensure you are living up to this, you could look at the average wait times in your branch or the time it takes to respond to online member inquiries. If these times are longer than the industry average – or even what you personally deem to be too long for your own liking – you will know that you are underdelivering on your promise. If, however, you regularly receive positive feedback or reviews about the speed of your service, you can be confident in your ability to over-deliver on your promise.

You can’t please everybody (but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try!)

Over 20 million people watched the final GOT episode in the US alone. 20 million! And that’s not counting the audiences who watched later or the rest of the world. There’s no doubt the series was incredibly popular, but with such a gigantic fan following, it was always going to be impossible to please everyone. There’s no further proof of this than on social media, where fans would express both their joy and discontent during and after each episode. For every tweet or post lauding the show, there were plenty criticizing it, too.

This is an extremely important lesson for credit unions: it doesn’t matter how hard you try, you won’t please everybody. But what is important is how you deal with the inevitable criticisms – including those on social media.

Rather than ignoring negative feedback, welcome it. See where you can make improvements. Did somebody complain that your most recent campaign didn’t feature enough diversity? Make a commitment to including more diverse talent in future ones. Were a few members frustrated because they didn’t meet the qualifications for a special rate? Introduce an alternative incentive that rewards members at lower qualification tiers. Did a member post on your Facebook page that they couldn’t access your online banking? Respond to their post in a timely manner and directly reach out to help with the issue. We see credit unions time and time again ignore negative comments on social media, which unfortunately sends the message that you’re not interested in helping members.

Sure, there will never be a point where you can meet everybody’s standards. But if you are appropriately addressing criticisms and welcoming feedback in an effort to help improve, you will end up delivering far greater value for your members.

You’re only as good as your last experience

Prior to the final episode of GOT, Emilia Clarke, who played longtime fan favorite Daenerys Targaryen, was quoted as saying her character’s final scenes would leave a bad taste in many fans’ mouths. And she was right. After religiously following the show through seven incredible seasons, the quick pacing and glossing over of key story arcs left a bitter aftertaste for many fans. Sadly, this became the lasting impression that overshadowed the entire series. Just think, seven incredible years of amazing acting, writing, and production marred by the letdown of the final eighth season.

The same rule applies to credit unions: it doesn’t matter how well you’ve met your members’ needs in the past, if the last experience they had with you is less than satisfactory, this will be their overarching opinion they have of you. So no matter what you’re doing, you’re goal is to always do better than last time.

To measure this, you will need to ask your members how you’re doing with regular surveys or feedback forms. And anytime there is a less than stellar opinion, it’s your job to transform that dissatisfaction into utter delight. We recommended directly reaching out to disgruntled members and asking what you could do better. Offer some form of incentive or compensation in recognition of their honesty and assistance. Not only does this rectify the issue, it creates a newer and more positive experience to override their last unfavorable one.

That’s a wrap

GOT may have let down its fans when it mattered most, but their failure can be our gain! After all, there is no movement quite like the credit union’s, not even Game of Thrones. So let’s show the world what it really takes to keep millions of loyal fans happy. For The Throne!

Ben Prager

Ben Prager

Prior to forming Prager Creative, Ben worked with design studios, branding firms and advertising agencies to push great strategy and design for all his projects. His experience with all aspects ... Web: Details